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Tucker Boyd (They/Them)

The personal is political.

Of the many disagreements organizers might have with one another, belief in these four words is something I think many of us share in common.  Recognizing that our personal experiences cannot be separated from social, political, and economic structures is one thing, but identifying exactly how, and using that knowledge to fuel our organizing, is another. One of the many lessons I’ve learned from my experiences with the Poor People’s Campaign is that the best organizers know themselves: their history, their values, and why they are called to build a future different from the present. Another lesson is that the best organizers also have clarity on where their allegiances lie. In other words, they know ‘which side they are on.’ When I answer these questions for myself, I’m reminded of hard-fought Poor People’s Campaign wisdom: that at the center of our organizing is the ‘fight, plight, and insight’ of the poor and dispossessed; that, as the song goes, ‘the people are my reason;’ and that the only thing strong enough to defeat the interlocking injustices of racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and militarism is the people, the poor and dispossessed, and so our future depends on us ‘getting into step.’ I realize as I write this how many of these lessons were communicated to me through music or through art. I’m hearing Pauline Pisano’s powerful voice in my head. I’m hearing the chorus of Moral Fusion student fellows singing ‘everybody’s got a right to live.’ I’m seeing cars with painted windows and cardboard turned into symbols of dissent and into visions for the future. I don’t mean to glorify this resistance. Though these images and sounds are beautiful- they are, I think, examples of what Dr. Cornel West understands justice to be, “love in public”- but they are also rooted in trauma. The words ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on the car window are painted there because, as Rev. Dr. Barber said, “too many people are too comfortable with other people’s death.” Black lives are systemically treated as disposable. We sing ‘we’re getting into step’ because for too long we’ve been divided, turned against each other by the same people who profit off of our pain. We chant “everybody’s got a right to live” because our basic needs are not yet our human rights. But, as Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis says “I believe that we will win.” There’s no other option. For a livable planet, for a world at peace, for all of us to be free from the fear of police, from the fear of hunger, for our right to control our own bodies, the only way through is forward, together. 

Favorite Organizer: It’s difficult for me to pick a ‘favorite’ organizer, because I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude and admiration for anyone who fights back against the interlocking injustices of racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and militarism. So my answer is all of them, but because I try to shout them out as often as I can, I owe a particular debt to Joe, West, Pauline, Karma, Katy, Maya, Soli, Rev Erica, Dr. Colleen, members of GenNow and Moral Fusion student fellows, and the whole Capital Region PPC (and the list could go on!)


Other orgs involved with: the Vermont Workers’ Center, the Right Care Alliance 

Tucker - 22 - skidmore/uvm - location: capital region & southern Vermont

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